Monday, July 25, 2005


Looking out over the balcony railing, slowly pulling on a fresh cigarette, watching the shifting pastels. Contemplating the beauty of the scene, marveling in the never-ending beauty of these surroundings, it's hard to imagine not being happy living in a place like this.

Hard to imagine, but easier to accomplish.

The juxtaposition is striking -- I stand on my balcony, smoking a cigarette, watching the ten thousandth "most beautiful sunset I've ever seen" -- meanwhile, my monitor flickers with a conversation with someone I'd easily trade for such fantastic surroundings. I'm sure she's reading this, now. Hi.

Here's the thing. I harbor no false concepts of love lost, etc. Yes, I used to date her, yes, there will always be some lingering connection beyond that associated with mere friends. But when I say I'd easily trade her for this beauty all around me, I'm making no reference to such things.

Austin is fantastic. Incredible, in fact.The parks are green, the weather is perfect, and the sky is unbelievable. As I've said, every sunset is georgeous, but even during the day, the few clouds speckling the light blue sky make for an equally incredible scene. I've never been so fascinated by the sky as I am here. It would be easy to watch the passing clouds for hours, only t be followed by a brilliant sunset, and finally gazing into the bright-lit starscape.

Combining this with the parks, the rivers, the rest of this oasis in the desert, and it's hard not to see why Austin is growing so rapidly. Add in the cultural scene -- fantastic music everywhere one stops, a thriving art community... and it's hard to resist the draw.

Maybe I'm just doomed to never be satisfied. Maybe I just want too much from life. Maybe I expect more than this world has to offer me.

But here's the thing -- I'd trade perfect weather and beautiful landscapes for intelligent conversation any day. It's not that the people here are stupid; rather they just aren't intelligent. All in all, they seem to be rather... bland. Maybe it's living in such a fantastic climate that does it; comfort breeds complacency, right? Whatever it is, no matter how much I talk to anyone, no matter how intelligent they seem, even the bright shining stars of brilliance here do little to compare with those I knew in Pittsburgh. I miss the intelligence. I miss the spark. I miss the quirks. I miss the life. The people here -- they are quirky, some of them are perhaps even moderately intelligent, but... the spark is missing. It seems as though I am truly the stranger in a strange land.

Eight months from now, my lease will be up, and I'll leave Austin. Perhaps I won't even wait that long, perhaps I'll sub-lease. But either way, I won't be here longer than that. I'm not completely certain where my next stop will be in this unending travelling -- perhaps Charlotte? -- but I'm not sure that I'll have as high hopes upon my arrival there as I did here. I've realize that a location is only part of the equation, and to me the people matter more than the scenery. If this means I'm doomed to return to the northeast, to suffer through the frigid winters and the unending greyness, I've finally come to the point where I can accept it, and gratefully, for if that is the tradeoff, I'll exchange sun and green grass for coffee and cigarettes, exchange sunsets and stars for conversation and enlightenment. No matter the cost.

Don't abandon me yet. There may be salvation left for even one as scarred and broken as myself.


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